Crash Test Chris

14th June 2013

Baychon

Le Bon Sens – 6a – Lead
Mehare – 5+ Second
Pussicat – 6a – Lead
Oriane – 6a – Second
La Vista – 5+ – Lead

You would think that this trip just consisted of getting up and climbing. On the contrary, we had a number of routines which became part of this extended climbing trip.

The Dining Room

The Dining Room

Mornings were not early. We knew they should b,e but we couldnt roust ourselves that well and so a leisurely breakfast and ubiquitous cup of coffee sorted us out for the short but beautiful drive down to Tarascon. Aston is a really sleepy village and nothing seemed worth rushing for when you’re there. A quick stop at the patisserie for Pain aux raisin’s and then off to the crag. On this day we were in for a treat.

View towards Andorra

View towards Andorra

Baychon is probably my favorite venue in Ariege. Set away from the crowds in an idil valley above a small Hamlet it has a real feeling of remoteness and solitude. Getting there isnt a problem unless you have a Chris with you. Then you have to contend with reversing out of a tiny hamlet which you should never have gone to in the first place. Chris needs to read more than one line at a time. Then the clearly marked ‘DO NOT DRIVE INTO THE HAMLET’ may have been on his mind.

Mountain Village

Mountain Village

There is though very good parking just across the road which made things easier and once again we were the only ones at the crag.

The tricky slab of Le Bon Sens

The tricky slab of Le Bon Sens

Le Bon Sens is a very cruxy 6a. The climbing is straight forward until you reach the slightly overhanging thin corner crack. You need to tackle this with conviction in order to make the jugs higher up. Once through here there is a technical corner but its all in the one move really. Pussicat was a far better 6a. Much more challenging with a very thin move onto the upper slab where friction is your friend.

Pussicat - not quite.

Pussicat – not quite.

Chris took on the devious Mehare, which has a step up that took me ages to figure out. It’s completely off balance and at no point did I feel in control. Great fun! Oriane proved to be Chris’ undoing on this day.

Chris on Oriane

Chris on Oriane

Too many long and tiring days probably contributed but Chris came off a couple of times, both at very unexpected points and probably due to a lack of concentration. I think by this time we were all feeling the heat and after one final route called La Vista, which was confusing, we made tracks back for an early supper (after our traditional Leffe at the hotel of course).

The river kept rising cos of the meltwater. Kayakers dream

The river kept rising cos of the meltwater. Kayakers dream

In the evening we set off on a walk through the woods up the valley. The river produces a wierd effect. The air surrounding it is freezing, but either side it was boiling. Just goes to show how cold the meltwater was. The woods turned out to be a great walk. By time we returned it was pitch black and very spooky.

Spooky Woods

Spooky Woods

Clearly this trail is an old shepherds trail, with now unused field systems either side. It gives an insight into times long gone in the area. All we needed was Bears and Wolves and strangely enough……………….

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